I drove down to Vancouver, WA and visited with my good friend Mandy today. We originally met and became friends in 7th grade... I guess that made us 13 then. We were on the gymnastics team together, and were still "good" when we first met.... didn't take long until we were little shitheads though :) hahha. We smoked, we drank, we stole, we made-out with boys, we even dipped chewing tobacco.... Did an excellent job of stressing out our parents that's for sure! Guess we thought we were "thugs" with our super dark eye makeup and brown lined lips. HA, so ridiculous!! Thank goodness that only lasted a short while (Thank you to my parents' crazy crack down, and my conservative high school sweetheart (all 4years+ !) who straightened me up! ).
It's such a fun friendship because we have sooo much history (blackmail material!), yet almost completely opposite lives now. Becky: the crazy, adventurous, perpetual single life; and Mandy: the married 11 years w/ 3 kids life! She very easily could have had one of those horrible teenage pregnancy stories... but instead it became a completely inspirational fairy tale. She and Evan, having only been dating a few months, completely stepped up to the challenge. They were married just a month after our high school graduation, Madisen was almost 1, and the cutest little flower girl ever :) . I can't give enough props to Evan. How many 17 year old boys find out their gf is prego, changes his life plan, looks for a job that he can grow with, and shackels up? Mandy also, decided to keep her college plans anyways, juggling her new husband, baby, and schoolwork. Major props :)
Fast forward 11 years later... they are both super successful (she as a delivery room nurse!), a nice big house, couple cars, vacations each year, and 3 beautiful children. Madisen is 12... almost as old as we were (that's slightly scarrrryyy!), Lacie just turned 7, and Blake is in the "wonderful" twos :) Mandy looks super young (and fabulous) and people ask her all the time if Madisen is her sister ;) High five!
|Mandy, Lacie, and Madisen :)|
So what's our favorite topic... the conversation we have almost every time we get together?? Just how crazy it is to imagine how one little decision could have changed our lives so completely. Had she not gotten prego, and I'd married my HS boyfriend.... (or any number of minuscule decisions) we could be totally switched! Weird to think about. So which one is better? Marry young and have kids early or focus on self and career and hitch up later?? The answer is simple: to be happy in the one you've got :)
They will be 35 when Madisen graduates from HS, super young and still vibrant and active (okay so spreading out the kids as they did they'll be 45 when Blake is done, but you get the point). They will have tons of time to enjoy the kids as adults and the grand babies.. and probably great grand babies!! They always have had each other and haven't had to deal with the ups and downs of giving/receiving broken hearts. The downside being never really having the chance to be on their own.
On the other hand, I've had the opportunity to focus on my career, get established, let myself really become my own person, and I've certainly "sewn my wild oats". This RTW trip (next week!!!) for me is kind of like the cap, the icing, and the cherry on top :). I'll eventually have a family (a big one!!) ... but I'm really getting to enjoy myself and my energy first. The downside, and why this is kind of the selfish way, is I'll have less time w/ my future kids and grand babies:(. I better live life like Jack Lalanne to make up for that ;)
The thing is though, we're both super happy, and there's really zero point in wondering "what if". (We just talk about it for shits and giggles, not because we actually wish our lives had been different!) It all goes back to being grateful for what you have... not what you could have had, or should have, or want to have later. Happiness is ssssooo all about attitude.
Sooooo, take a step back from your life a minute. Yes, maybe it could be better... BUT, it could also be waaaaaaay worse ( I can help you imagine if you need a scenario!). So, pretty please, appreciate where you are!! Happiness is a journey, not a destination. There's no bigger waste of energy than wishing things were different. One of my fave quotes (I know I have 700): "If you can't change something, accept it. If you can't accept something, change it."
Thanks for being an inspiration Mandy :) You are beautiful. Your family is beautiful. Your life is awesome :) I'm glad we're friends! oh.. and in case your kids read this, I was so lying about what we did in junior high... just trying to sound "cool." ;)